‘Expanding the view’ is a competition response for the Kaikōura Marine Development Project which aims to regenerate Wakatu Quay. Often described as providing the best view in all of Kaikōura, our proposal ‘expands the view’ for this historic location.
Dynamic, shifting, and evolving, tectonic plates collide, towering peaks fall to the sea, and ocean currents converge. Wakatu Quay pushes out into this landscape, layered atop an uplifted limestone terrace within the rich coastal ecosystem of the Kaikōura Peninsula and Canyon—the reason for the abundant sea life and settlement. Located at the convergence of trails celebrating stories and landscapes of the region. The presence of moana (sea), whenua (land) and maunga (mountain) is undeniable.
‘Expanding the view’ weaves together science, culture and nature to generate an experience that provides a genuine connection to this place for both community and visitors. Offering a rich visitor experience for when the Whale Watch boats can’t go out—and attracting an extra day’s stay.
Wakatu Quay expands the view into local culture, the community, the subterranean, the aquatic, and the night sky. It is a taumata where the eye comes to rest, a tohu or marker in the landscape, visible and enticing, present in the landscape, drawing people in to learn more.
Respecting the land we nibble away at the existing concrete structure revealing the unique rock formations below. Respecting the community, authentic connections are enabled between people and place through carefully curated framed views introducing the visitor to significant sites. Respecting local culture we maintain existing boat launching, fishing and cray pot activities. Layered over this is a series of public spaces that accommodate light structures housing an experience centre, research facility, outdoor discovery, restaurants, and cafés. Sea-to-plate dining offers hospitality—expanding the ritual of sourcing kai and manaaki. As day turns to night, a new framed view within the tower lets visitors explore the spectacular night sky. Designed to evolve—like the landscape—new parts are added, and older parts are repurposed. Helping restore, protect, and enhance Kaikōura’s unique natural environment and biodiversity, protecting unique landscape features such as the newly expressed fault lines.
The built form is a contemporary village of low scale structures that centre around experiencing the view to the Kaikōura ranges. Extending outward—exposing and revealing the constantly changing view across time, providing a refuge during harsh weather and at night. These buildings clearly signal circulation routes, support various community and commercial activities, and provide a diverse range of experiences for visitors and locals. Their forms and shapes respond to the natural environment and building uses, they offer protection from the elements, provide important views, and indicate connections through the site. The buildings have a durable rustic patina that naturally belongs to the exposed location on the seaside. The built form has the rawness and authenticity that refers to the historic but without being a reproduction. It maintains being a working wharf while encouraging visitors to explore and engage with the sea.
Our competition proposal for Kaikōura is grounded in history with a tangible connection to the community and ecologically sustainable. The design seeks to establish a distinct sense of place as an enduring cultural, tourism and community asset.